The Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement, including Donegal North East TD Joe McHugh, travels to Belfast tomorrow, (Thursday, November 22) to meet a wide range of community groups in predominantly loyalist areas. While the committee has undertaken a number of visits to Northern Ireland and the border region, this visit will represent a substantial engagement on the ground with loyalist communities.
Over two days, the committee will visit the Duncairn Partnership in North Belfast, the Short Strand Community Forum and Partnership, the East Belfast Methodist Mission, the Andy Tyrie Interpretative Centre in East Belfast and the Resurgam Trust in Lisburn. Rounding the trip off on Friday, the committee will attend the formal opening ceremony by First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness of the Skainos Centre in East Belfast.
Committee Chairman Joe McHugh TD said: “Reflecting the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement, the committee is exploring practical ways towards reconciliation in all its discussions and activities. The committee tomorrow travels to loyalist areas in East and North Belfast for the first time to view initiatives focused on advancing community relations on the ground. We will also meet with the Short Strand Community Forum and Partnership, who work within the primarily nationalist Short Strand area in East Belfast. Over the course of the two days, we will meet with those at the vanguard of promoting reconciliation, tolerance and mutual respect between these communities and other communities across the island.
“The visit will take in the formal opening of the cross-community Skainos Centre in inner East Belfast by First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness. The project, which involved construction of an new urban village, is a model for development of a shared space, accessible to the whole community, in a contentious area.”